By Jim Dedman
We here at the North Carolina Law Blog are often asked – sometimes even by interested coworkers – how to blog. Good question. Sometimes they are legitimately curious, other times they just wonder how and why we do the nerdy things we do. We’ve seen this question addressed on many a blog, but a good many of them miss the point. The curious readers are not really asking how to create a blog, design a blog, or promote a blog, but rather, how to sit down and engage in the process of writing and editing a blog entry itself. That’s the real trick, isn’t it? How do you determine what to discuss on your blog? Once you figure that out, the rest is easy.
When you think about it in detail, the quest for subject matter – blog fodder - is the easiest part of blogging. We’ve all got legal anecdotes, war stories, and opinions on issues large and small. You can write not just about the latest cases, but about your legal pet peeves, awkward moments at depositions, and even our thoughts on the blog entries of other writers. Really, any story you tell another lawyer at lunch or any minor tirade you embark upon as the result of an irksome legal annoyance is appropriate and good subject matter. Anything you read in the news, anything you see in pop culture, or anything you encounter on the vast expanse of the Internet can prompt a post large or small, even if it only offers the tiniest connection to the world of law.
But even armed with an idea for a post, some would-be bloggers face a challenge in converting it into a proper blog post. This, too, can be easy, if you approach the task in the proper way. Lots of writers become discouraged with the idea of drafting a post. To them, blogging is the difficult task sitting down in front of a blank computer screen on a single occasion and then formulating an idea for a post, writing it, and editing it, all in one sitting. Just as with a motion or brief, it’s stressful when you sit in front of a blank screen on the computer and know that you cannot get up again until you have finished a draft. There is a better way. Bloggers should carry blog ideas with them and allow them germinate and develop in their minds before sitting down to write the post. They can scribble notes on a legal pad, or if they have the ability and desire, dictate a rough draft of a post. That way, when they sit down in front of their computer, they’re not facing blank screen but starting with a series of their own notes or even a dictated rough draft of the post. This makes it much easier to complete the task – they’re not producing a post out of thin air but massaging earlier work product into a final post.
So there you go, would-be bloggers. Have at it.